Heavenly Father, the blessing of salvation in Christ and the sufferings that result from living in a fallen world are no surprise to the serious student of Your Word. May Your Truth and Your Faithfulness provide the strength and perseverance to those who believe and obey. In Christ’s name, Amen.
A Paradox of the Christian Life
- Psalm 70:4-5 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” 5 But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.
- Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified and then resurrected to free those who accept His free gift of salvation from the curses of sin and death. As children of God, we are empowered by His Word, the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit, and His promises to live a victorious life that glorifies and honors Him. Yet all the while we agonize through countless struggles and temptations that seem to constantly surround and sometimes engulf us. We are pilgrims and ambassadors living in a lost and dying world that hates us.
- We move forward in faith:
- Celebrating Our Salvation and Contemplating Our Suffering.
Though we feel the tension as we walk the path between these two opposing mindsets, we should walk with peace and purpose. For we know that within this paradox is the truth of God. The foundational events that establish this paradox are found in Genesis.
- In Genesis 3:14-19, God pronounces the curses for Satan, Eve and Adam as punishment for disobeying His command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17).
- God’s curse resulted from Adam’s sin and established the stipulations for human suffering on earth (sin requires punishment).
- In Genesis 12:1-3, God declares His covenant with Abram (Abraham) and states that all the families (nations) of the world would be blessed through him.
- This promise of blessing, a clear proclamation of the gospel of Jesus (see Galatians 3:8), is God’s guarantee of victory over sin and death through Christ (salvation brings victory and peace).
Our Instruction and Example
- Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- As we look at some Biblical examples of those who lived a life of faith (Hebrews 11), we are instructed to endure in hope the path that God has set before us (taking the struggles with the blessings).
- Christ endured the cross, temporary separation from God, death and resurrection to fulfill His role as redeemer and advocate.
This Paradox is Temporary
- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
- The paradox of salvation and suffering for the Christian is real; but it is also temporary. No matter how bad things may seem, the temporary struggles of today don’t compare with the eternal blessings for all those who have surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (John 3:16, Revelation 21).